Learning about Climate Change & the Paris Agreement

group picOn Friday, 26 February 2016 UNIC Windhoek hosted a Climate Change and the Paris Agreement Outreach Programme at Jakob Marengo Secondary School in Katutura, Windhoek. With over 70 students accompanied by a team of teachers, the team was ready to create dialogue on a topic under discussion across the globe!

During the presentation, the UNIC Windhoek team displayed photos depicting climate change in Namibia. Grade 12 students pensively thought about the photos and were asked to define what climate change is and how it caused what was depicted in the photos.

sharing ideasThe students eagerly raised their hands and many students cited the drought, which has ravaged Namibia’s landscape for the past several years, as the cause of what they were seeing in the photos.

After this interactive discussion, the UNIC Windhoek team explained what climate change is and the science behind the Green House Effect.

cop21Through verbal explanation as well as a video depicting climate change across the globe, UNIC Windhoek explained that with the burning of fossil fuels and other human influences, there has been an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which has resulted in the Earth becoming warmer.

This has caused changes in the water cycle, weather patterns, ecosystems and global temperatures.Then, the students were asked to look at the photos again, but this time to think about the impact climate change has had on Namibia’s people and economy. The students, who have experienced climate change on a day to day basis, were eager to share how they had seen climate change impact the nation.

giving feedbackOne student stressed that it has made agriculture and livestock farming extremely difficult, as farmers do not have water or food for their animals. The student continued to say that this then affects the farmer and the farmer’s family as they do not have a stable income.

Along the same lines, another student emphasized on the fact that Namibia must import food for people, as it cannot produce enough food under the conditions of the drought.

crowdThe students agreed that climate change had a large impact on Namibia, and listened carefully as the UNIC Windhoek team began to discuss what world leaders are doing to combat climate change.

Through an engaging video about COP21 and the historic Paris Agreement, the students learned about how leaders from 196 nations met in December 2015 to come up with an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius.

nam presidentThe students then saw President Hage Geingob’s address at COP21 and learned about what Namibia is and will be doing in terms of combating climate change.

As part of the Paris Agreement, Namibia will be working towards accomplishing its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) as well as working to attend to the critical insecurities facing the nation: food insecurity, water insecurity and energy insecurity.

making notes throughoutWhen the Paris Agreement is signed into effect this Mother Earth Day, April 22, it will require nations to work towards accomplishing their own goals, the INDCs, in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Then, every five years, nations will check in with one another and come up with new goals.

The students were then asked to think about what they can do as individuals and students in helping combat climate change. Students waved their hands and shared their ideas, which ranged from reducing water use, planting more trees, recycling, utilizing public transportation and investing in renewable energy.

attentiveThe UNIC Windhoek team encouraged the students to share their opinions with the government and take part in voting, so that their ideas can be heard.

Even after the presentation ended, students continued to share their ideas about how to prevent climate change from happening. One student stressed the importance of the government stopping people from burning garbage and explained that this practice releases a lot of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

DSC_0109Educators also stressed to the UNIC Windhoek team how relevant they thought the presentation was to the students and encouraged the team to continue with the programme at other schools, as they thought that the topic is something all students should be learning about.

In the evaluations about the presentation, one student echoed the same sentiment saying, “A word of thanks to the UN for this education program. Please try to do more educational tours around the whole country because climate change is very important.”

teachersThe UNIC Windhoek team plans to continue bringing the programme to schools over the next two months leading up to Mother Earth Day.